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Swimming at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

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Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Wembley Arena, Wembley, London
Date Started: July 31, 1948
Date Finished: August 4, 1948

Gold: USA Bill Smith
Silver: USA Jimmy McLane
Bronze: AUS John Marshall


Frenchman [Alex Jany] entered the competition as world record holder and a solid favourite for all three freestyle titles but he had disappointed in the sprint event and would withdraw from the 1500m. Jany did reach the final of the 400m but his qualification was overshadowed by a duo of Americans, [Bill Smith] and [Jimmy McLane], and by the 100m bronze medallist, Hungary’s [Géza Kádas]. It was Smith who set the pace in the final and only his team-mate McLane, who started slowly but then moved through the pack, could challenge him. At the 200m mark the two Americans battled for the lead but Smith had enough in hand to pull away to a comfortable victory breaking the Olympic record in the process. McLane finished in second with the Australian [John Marshal] holding off the Hungarian challenge for the bronze medal. Jany finished sixth in a time fully fifteen seconds off his best. Bill Smith had contracted Typhoid as a child and took to swimming as a way to rebuild his strength. [Hironoshin Furuhashi] of Japan set a world record for this event in 1949 and would have been amongst the favourites if Japan had been permitted to compete.

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